A Taste of Carolina
13 locations photographed. 8 days on the road. 1800 miles driven. Several pounds gained. 1 state: North Carolina. These are just a few stats from Bryan Regan‘s recent assignment—which has already won two ADDYs, by the way. The job came from ElectriCities of North Carolina, who Bryan had worked with in the past on their annual reports. This time, he’d be shooting their annual calendar.
This year’s calendar featured the best BBQ restaurants throughout the state of North Carolina. The ElectriCities team approached Bryan with the brief and he quickly jumped on board. Soon he was shooting (and eating) his way across the state, photographing food, restaurants, chefs and patrons.
According to Bryan, this was a “dream job.” And yes, Bryan is a vegetarian. He made do though, eating hush puppies and french fries. He fondly refers to the trip as The Vegetarian BBQ tour. As for the dream job part, that came from his complete creative freedom,
The team just gets what I do. He said “just go do what you do.” So me and the writer Leigh Ann Frank spent eight says and 1800 miles driving across North Carolina. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet some great people. The best quote was at Parker BBQ in Wilson, NC. “Good food brings good people together.”
Bryan considers the finished images to be, “a visual journey of how I sees things.” However, his journey wasn’t an easy one as many of the shoots were in very small restaurants, requiring Bryan to squeeze around obstacles and tighten up his equipment. There was also no food stylist on the shoot, everything was shot fresh from the kitchen—which may sound great, but can make it difficult to have the food photograph well. Nevertheless, all these challenges just made the shoot more enjoyable and the images more compelling.
The assignment also allowed Bryan to meet a lot of interesting people, including “Pitmaster,” Chef Ed Mitchell. His portrait of Ed is one of Bryan’s favorites from the entire series,
[One of my favorites] is Iron Chef Ed, standing in the road behind his restaurant. Ed is such a humble man, and I think this captures him well.
Throughout his eight day (vegetarian) BBQ tour, Bryan says he learned a lot—especially about BBQ. “I’m glad I’m a vegetarian,” he asserts, “I don’t think I’ll ever eat another hush puppy. The owners of the restaurants were so excited about being in the calendar, they just kept bringing plate after plate of food.”
1800 miles later, Bryan delivered the images to the client, who loved them. They weren’t the only ones either—the final calendar has garnered rave reviews, and as I said, has already won two ADDY awards. Bryan would love to go on another photo road trip—maybe this time a vegetable tour.
View more of Bryan’s work on his website, bryanreganphotography.com.
– Maria Luci